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C & R builds stronger communities in Orakei

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In 2010, David Wong ran for the Orakei Local Board as an independent.

Being a New Zealand-born Chinese, David was keen to break the ‘glass ceiling’ within the white middle class ward of Orakei and bring youth, change and diversity to the local Board.

He got close but knows now that he has a better chance in 2016 with a strong Communities and Residents team behind him and a larger electorate of Asian voters.

There are 13,000 Asians in the Orakei Ward representing 18% of the total electorate.

Grassroots support

David will be the first to admit he is not a politician but is a firm believer of supporting the community at grassroots.

Having enjoyed rolling his sleeves up with the Auckland Branch of the New Zealand Chinese Association as Deputy Chair and as Secretary of the Auckland Chinese Community Centre, David’s week nights and weekends are full of planning an array of cultural events for all generations.

In his spare time, he is an active member of the multicultural Rotary club of Auckland Harbourside (a Club Chartered by Mike Jaduram).

Discreet Persona

c-r-builds-strongers-david-wong-webDavid co-chaired the ‘Diverse Bananas,’ Global Dragons Conference at the University of Auckland in June 2014 with an array of high profile Chinese key note speakers.

Constitutional lawyer Mai Chen, internationally acclaimed chef Anthony Hoy Fong and half-Chinese brewery entrepreneur Paul Croucher were among the high calibre speakers.

“It always amazes me how many New Zealand Chinese business people fly below the radar despite having so much success; it must be reflective of our Chinese upbringing to exude a humble and discreet persona,” he said.

War Refugees

David’s parents, like many of that generation, were war refugees arriving in New Zealand during the early 1940s. To flee from war-torn China was a tumultuous and stressful time and David recalls his parents telling stories of hardship and hunger and finally landing by boat in Wellington after six weeks on water.

“My father had no formal education and immediately found work in market gardens in Otaki and my mum had schooling up to fourth form. She was forced to leave school to help my grandmother bring up the other eight siblings,” David said.

With his three other brothers and a younger sister, David followed the traditions of Chinese families.

A doctor, lawyer, business consultant, and two accountants (which includes David and his sister) the siblings ensured that they repaid their parents by completing their education and forging good careers.

As the voting looms closer David is hopeful that the Orakei Local Board will start to paint a picture that reflects the ethnic and cultural mix of the Ward and of Auckland.

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